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Listen to the state Fish and Boat Commission

“Wear your life jacket and boat sober.”

Those words by executive director Tim Schaeffer were two of the tips noted during the quarterly meeting of the governing board for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, as reported in Tuesday’s Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

It’s good advice for every Pennsylvanian who enjoys our state’s waterways, and we’re glad the commission has implemented educational and enforcement campaigns this summer to get as many of Pennsylvania’s boaters to practice these hallmarks of safe boating as possible.

As the commission noted in Tuesday’s edition, of the seven boating-related fatalities in 2022, five of the deceased were not wearing life jackets.

We’re also glad the commission’s board continues to explore other ways of keeping boating in Pennsylvania as safe as possible. The board discussed regulations on electric boat motors, on fire extinguishers aboard recreational motorboats and improving consistency regarding boat-towed watersports. The commission, the reporting in the Sun-Gazette’s outdoors section indicates, is trying to balance public safety with freedom from burdensome or nonsensical over-regulation. The board considers standards set by the U.S. Coast Guard, among others, in crafting this balance. Their efforts are admirable and we appreciate their work.

But for all the work and attention to detail the state Fish and Boat Commission brings to crafting these safety regulations and for all the hard work the commissioners put into enforcing the regulations and investigating violations, the truth of the matter is that safe boating starts with the boaters themselves. So we once again, encourage every reader that enjoys time on our waterways — follow the rules, wear life jackets, abstain from impaired boating and keep our rivers and lakes safe.

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